It is a big weekend for Football in the state of Montana, and not just in Bozeman. Five state championships will be awarded between Friday night and Saturday afternoon. Out of those 5 state title games, one team has the opportunity to repeat as state champ.

So let’s start Friday night in Helena. I feel if you had taken a poll as the season got underway, a large percentage of people would have said the AA title game would be played in Helena this year. Both Helena schools were going to be solid, but the talk over the summer was Capital. To make things interesting, the AA title game is a week 1 rematch. Capital and Bozeman met what feels like forever ago, back on August 26th in a tight game that Capital won 28-21. For Capital, Tom Carter had a big game with 218 yards and a pair of scores. Bozeman’s Jake Casagranda has had a great year at quarterback, in that first game he threw for 2 touchdowns and 231 yards. An awful lot rides on the shoulders of Bozeman’s offensive line, as Capital has the best pass rush in Montana, and only gave Bozeman 33 yards rushing that first game. Watch for weather to be a factor as well, it is going to be COLD.

Dylan Graham with blocking, in Capital's SemiFinal win over defending State AA Champ Missoula Sentinel. BRIANNA OMARA photograph. used with permission.
Dylan Graham with blocking, in Capital's Semi-Final win over defending State AA Champ Missoula Sentinel. BRIANNA OMARA photograph. used with permission.

The Class A championship will be decided in Lewistown, in an all Eastern-A throwdown. As the Eagles will welcome Billings Central to town for the second time in a bit over a month. The Eagles knocked off the Rams in their lone conference game 17-7 on Oct 14th. Gage Norslein has been fantastic at quarterback for the Eagles this season, passing for nearly 1700 yards and 23 touchdowns. The undefeated Eagles have scored 413 points on the year and have only allowed 98. Billings Central comes into the game with the biggest win of the Class A playoffs under their belt, hammering Hamilton 42-6 at their place last week. Cade Boyd leads the Rams offense averaging 9 yards a carry.

To Class B, and the only team with a chance of repeating as state champs, the Flacons of Florence-Carlton. The Falcons graduated a bunch of their roster from a year ago, the bulk of which are playing college ball, and yet here they are again. Coming out of the Western B (which in my opinion is the toughest conference in Montana) they will play a conference foe for the title again. Last year it was Bigfork, this year it’s Loyola Sacred Heart. The Rams of Sacred Heart had to battle their way into the playoffs and have performed in a big way once they got to the dance. Coming into the tournament as a #4 seed out of the West they have knocked off 2 #1 seeds (Townsend and Bigfork) to get to the Championship. Florence won their regular season matchup 35-12.

The 8-man chipper will be decided in St. Ignatius, as the Bulldogs welcome Belt to town. Both teams roll in undefeated on the year, the Bulldogs the #1 seed out of the West have been at home the entire playoffs and will look to finish the year off with a win. The Huskies come in with 2 home playoff wins, and also boast a bit of a rarity, a playoff win over Flint Creek in Pburg. Both teams roll in with high-power offenses, (the Bulldogs have scored over 70 - 3 times this year) the key might be the Dogs scoring on the Huskies, who haven’t given up a point in the playoffs. (beating Charlo 64-0, Flint Creek 48-0, and Culbertson in the semi’s 38-0).

Finally, the 6-man game, will be decided in John Tester’s neighborhood, Big Sandy. The undefeated Pioneers will be taking on the (likewise undefeated) Pirates of Broadview-Lavina. The Pirates enter the chipper coming off of a HUGE win over Med-Lake last week 35-34. The Pioneers’ biggest test was in the second round, when they were tested by Custer 25-20. Big Sandy’s team numbers are video game-like, scoring 679 points this year, and only allowing 87. Yea, that’s not a typo.

That game in Bozeman is big for the state of Montana, but the rest of the games this weekend deserve your time.
My thanks to Brianna O'Mara for use of her outstanding photography. You can see her work HERE

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